Participles in boxes

26 09 2012

Yesterday I was standing in for a colleague who’s gone to Disney with her kids, and so I was teaching an Upper Intermediate 2 class (they’re preparing for FCE in december).  The previous class they’d read a text about Pompeii and the other teacher had left me with the remit of continuing on into the language focus that followed on from the reading – participle clauses!

While I can imagine some of you might think participle clauses aren’t for the faint hearted, I was actually quite excited at the prospect, since it gave me the opportunity to try out a game I designed for the IHWO Games Bank, which I’ve never actually had the chance to use in a class before.  And since the class was a group of teens from 13 to 16, a game of boxes was just what I needed to keep their attention on the target language and get some intense practice in.

We quickly looked at the example sentences form the text and explored together what participle clauses actually were.  Normally I’d do this as a guided discovery, but the downside to GD is the prep needed and when substituting I like to keep that to a minimum.  So old fashioned teacher-at-the-board presentation it was, although I elicited all of the info from the students, of course!

Then it was straight into the game.  Hopefully you all know how to play boxes?  It’s basically joining up dots to complete the four sides of a square.  The strategy comes in because it’s the team that completes the fourth side of the square that wins the box for their team – and the team with the most boxes wins the game.  In our class version of the game, the teams have to correctly add a participle clause into short sentences in order to win the opportunity to draw a line and start building up squares.  Here’s the game and rules for you to try with your students:

Level 7 Lower Advanced Participles in Boxes

I knew the success of the game would hinge on keeping the pace high, so I set the game up very carefully.  They had to use a new verb in their clause each time.  They had ten seconds to answer, once I’d said the initial participle-clause-less sentence.  I simply counted down the ten seconds on my fingers, ensuring I didn’t distract them from thinking up their clauses, but also keeping the pressure on and the pace high.  Indeed, if they could think of both an active and passive participle clause for the same sentence they got two goes at box-making.

The game actually worked even better than I thought it would.  The students were motivated to be playing a game they play anyway amongst themselves and they were motivated to try and solve the challenge of creating sentences that would win points but also try and entertain me at the same time.  I think the topics of the original sentences also helped here.  The momentum of the game and the ten second rule also helped to keep the game flowing and the two point rule also allowed us to actually make some boxes in the time we played for (about twenty minutes).

The game also helped the students to see how participle clauses can make their sentences more interesting and informative and they also were challenged to make logical sense with their clauses – there were quite a few non-sequiturs to start with which I didn’t allow, leading to some interesting arguments about the logic of what they were coming up with.

In the end the game was so successful that I’m very tempted to continue playing it at the beginning of the next lesson to revise the use of participle clauses, but only if everyone’s done their homework of course!  I hope you and your students enjoy playing Participles in a box too – let us know how you get on!

 

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Comeback #87 Conference #3

10 09 2012

Easy by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

Seems like I spend more time injured than I do as a runner.  After two months nursing a torn calf – it still feels torn and lumpy but I felt it might hold up to some light running – and inspired by the wife and friends running the half marathon of Buenos Aires on Sunday (while I was giving my online workshop), I finally managed to trot out for 3km last Friday and 4km this evening (unaccompanied by the wife whose quads are still suffering :). 

As always with my numerous comebacks, early thoughts are always on trying to keep form and not overstress any muscles and I’m consciously trying to lift my quads a little higher and so have a longer bouncier stride this time round.  The softer style new shoes I got from Run&Become back in June help with this and seem to give me better protection that the previous harder ones I used to use. 

But I was also thinking about IHTOC3 and the call for papers that I have to get out by the end of the week.  It’s an exciting time of year as we start organising a new conference, especially since this one is going to be open to all and not just limited to IH teachers.  Let’s hope we can do some solid marketing over the next two months and pull the EFL crowds in on the 2nd and 3rd of November.  

So many things to think about – the rooms, the speakers, the sessions, the moderators, my own contribution, exciting times ahead.  Let’s hope I can keep injury free for these two months so some fresh air and lively muscles can help me to organise the conference even better than the previous two.  Let’s get it on!





Comment on Katy Davies’ blog about Feedback Fiesta

9 09 2012

http://lessonsfrommystudents.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/that-one-webinar-has-revolutionised-the-role-of-feedback-in-my-classes/#comment-15

Hi Katy,
Many thanks for featuring my seminar on your blog, I’m really glad you found it so helpful and it’s great to hear the things you say here about feedback resonating so succinctly with my own beliefs. Personally I believe feedback is the crucial part of the lesson and it’s borne out by the research quoted in the seminar.

But, as Chris recognises, when we talk about feedback we mean so much more than error correction. As you say and have experienced with your CAE students, the process of reflecting on what they’ve done, comparing findings, discussing answers, having correct answers verified and sharing information are all vital and motivating aspects of feedback that we need to give space to in the lesson.

Please keep continuing to give me feedback, I really appreciate it! Are you coming along on Wednesday? http://ihworld.com/ih/next_online_workshop





Materials for Surviving Through Song – IHWO LOW September 2012

8 09 2012

Here are all the materials you need to enjoy ‘Surviving through Song – words of wisdom for EFL teachers’ which I’m presenting as an IHWO Live Online Workshop this September – Enjoy!

I’m hoping to post blogs about each of the songs used in the workshop, but having done a couple of them, I can see it might take me a while to do them all, but hopefully we’ll get there eventually.  

Here are the first few:

It’s my party – for students

It’s my party – for teachers

The slides:

The Songs:

Lesley Gore – It’s my party

The Boomtown Rats – I don’t like Mondays

The Smiths – Ask

Oasis – Wonderwall

Dead or Alive – You spin me round

The Cure – Just like heaven

The Handouts

IHTOC50 NM HO Lesley Gore – It’s My Party Handout 1

IHTOC50 NM HO Lesley Gore – It’s My Party Handout 2

IHTOC50 NM HO Lesley Gore – It’s My Party Handout 3

IHTOC50 NM HO The Boomtown Rats – Tell me why I don’t like Mondays

IHTOC50 NM HO The Smiths – Ask

IHTOC50 NM HO Oasis – Wonderwall

IHTOC50 NM HO Dead or alive – you spin me round

IHTOC50 NM HO The Cure – Just Like Heaven

The Observation Tasks

The Sixties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Errors & Correction

The Seventies – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Critical Moments

The Eighties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO On The Podium

The Nineties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Successful Stages

The Noughties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Going Round In Circles

I hope you enjoy the workshop – if so, please do leave a comment and tell a colleague about it!